At Patuá Discos, in the Vila Madalena neighborhood, in SP, with records by Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, Jorge Ben and Sambalanço Trio, DJs MZK, Ramiro Z and Paulão - the latter two, members of the store. Photo: Luiza Sigulem

Segregated in the outskirts of São Paulo in the 1970s, bailes black were rediscovered in the second half of the 1990s by a new audience. This movement, dispersed in clubs in the central region of the city and in the bohemia of Vila Madalena, was witnessed – and carried out – by characters such as DJs Paulão and MZK, spearheads of research that reaffirmed the heritage of black music in our country.

Paulo Sakae Tahira, DJ Paulão, left the northern part of São Paulo, at the age of 17, in 1991, to live in Campinas, where he studied Social Sciences at Unicamp. Even though he was determined to complete his training as a political scientist, when he began to act on programs on Rádio Muda, the university's internal communication arm, he soon discovered that music would speak louder. “Before I reached sophomore year, I already knew that this was not what I wanted in my life, but that I should make the most of everything college had to offer,” he says.

Paulão made good use of Rádio Muda. With the exchange between students, provided by the experience of producer, programmer and broadcaster at the station, he built a network of contacts with students, based at Unicamp, from all regions of the country and Latin America, which expanded his musical research. The access to works by artists, albums and obscure singles, similar in their rhythmic force, led Paulão to develop the DJ facet. On the dancefloors he led, on nights like the Black Party, improvised on campus and in alternative spaces, hundreds to 1,5 young people surrendered to the irresistible lull of black music in the 1995/1996 biennium.

Four years later, in 1999, Maurício Zuffo Kulmann, DJ MZK, also a graphic artist, started the Jive party on four separate nights at the Cambridge Hotel. On the dancefloor conducted by him and his friends Magrão and Don KB, a warm mix of Afro-based sounds, ranging from funk to samba-rock, from Latin jazz to global grooves, from lounge music to movie and soap opera soundtracks. With the success of the venture, they moved the ball to a commercial room on the ground floor of a building on Rua Caio Prado, in downtown São Paulo. The space, owned by brothers Márcio and Alex Ceccin, known as Don KB, was named Jive and soon attracted a select nocturnal fauna.

“The audience was artists, musicians, journalists. A network of regulars that influenced the growth of the party. Something good, because we also had the freedom to dare and play the set we wanted”, says MZK. The incursion into Caio Prado, however, was short-lived. It was the sixth month of weekly dances when, after impasses with City Hall inspections and pressure from the neighborhood, the adventure came to an end. “The day the first Jive was closed, Luiz Melodia was there, it was a great atmosphere, but the police arrived and ended it all”, he recalls. In other addresses, fixed and itinerant, however, the Jive party lasted ten years.

The son of a truck driver of Japanese descent, Eizo Tahira, and a housewife, Maria Salomé Vaz Santos, Paulão grew up in the north of the city and had little influence from his parents on his musical education – according to him, the soundtrack at home was a mix of country and oriental music. The vocation for DJing, however, showed signs from an early age. “When I was 7 years old, in 1980, I would take my Vitrolinha Sonata, some records of soap operas and play in the backyard.”

Thirty-three years later, in 2013, the predicate of being a relic prospector led Paulão to release, on LP, the compilation Brazuca!, by the Dutch record label Kindred Spirits. With more than three thousand copies circulating around the world, the album, which is being reissued and will have a second volume, was recommended by the French newspaper Libération as essential for getting to know the best of Brazilian music in the year of the 2014 Football World Cup. 12 tracks, the album brings together compositions released between 1966 and 1978, by artists such as Evinha, Toni Tornado, Arnaud Rodrigues, Di Melo, Elza Soares, Silvio Cesar and Noriel Vilela.

Born in Vila Universitária, next to USP, in the west of São Paulo, MZK had a great influence in his adolescence when he became a DJ: the black dances organized by a modest local team equipped only with black light and strobe. With even more precarious resources, he decided to do his first garage dances with friends. “We took out some light sockets, colored bulbs and recorded the songs on K-7 tapes. I already had the influence of funk and disco music, but I was not a connoisseur of these sounds. I didn't get to participate in that stop at São Bento (the hip-hop scene that emerged in the subway station that, in the 1980s, was the embryo of Brazilian rap), but I followed everything closely. I listened to the first records of Thaíde and DJ Hum, the Beastie Boys, Malcoln McLaren, Kool Moe Dee, Kurtis Blow and RUN-DMC.”

After a period in which he lived in Santos, dominated by his interest in rock, MZK returned to São Paulo and joined a surf-music band with the suggestive name of Los Sea Dux, playing maracas. With the expansion of the group's musical influences, which incorporated grooves from different genres, came the desire to DJ again. Alongside Magrão, the trio's bassist and future partner at Jive's nights, MZK began to make the soundtrack that preceded the combo's performances. Embryonic experience at Jive, one of the parties that boosted a never-before-seen samba-rock cult. From a mere dance style, the sounds that rocked the blackness of the 1970s were elevated to the status of a musical genre, through bands such as Clube do Balanço, Os Opalas, Farufyno, Sandália de Prata and Sambasonics.

The band Sambasonics, created by guitarist Marcelo Munhoz, in 2001, the year of its foundation. Photo: Dimitri Lee

Similar findings emerged in the research of DJs Ju Salty and Prila Paiva, creators, in 2010, of the party Chica Chica Bum. Like Ramiro and Pinhel, they also met through sharing sites. In 1990, Ju was also co-opted into rap. “Ailton, a great friend, gave me a K-7 ribbon from the album Hip-Hop Na Veia, by Thaíde and DJ Hum, and I loved what I heard. In the same period, I started going out at night in São Paulo and started going to Der Tempel, a rock house, but which, on the dance floor, mixed everything. Of course, there was no black music in essence, but they played a lot of hip-hop. So much so that the first time I heard Racionais MCs was there. I remember I ran to ask the DJ what was playing. The song was Hey Boy.” From a compulsive listener to a DJ, Ju started his career in 2006, in clubs such as Tríade and CB, where he performed the Brazilian Version nights, with singer-songwriter Rômulo Fróes, and Tiki, alongside João Gordo.

At amateur college parties, Prila experienced divisive situations for her DJ training. “In 2000, I joined Unesp to study Visual Arts and started DJing at parties organized by the group. They were large events with 500 people. That's where my understanding of what it is to be a DJ came from. It was also at this time that I immersed myself in African and Latin American rhythms, mixed with psychedelia. Marva Whitney, Gal Costa, Elza Soares, Trio Ternura, Wilson das Neves, Djalma Corrêa, Geovana, James Brown, Kool and The Gang, Sly and The Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix, Mongo Santa Maria, among others, sew my sessions to this day. . I seek mastery of the music story that is told from the soul,” he says.

DJs Ju Salty and Prila Paiva, from the Chica Chica Bum party. Photo: Personal Archive

Ju and Prila are part of the upward movement. Previously restricted to isolated initiatives, such as the parties of the pioneer DJ Sonia Abreu, started in 1977, in 1977, at the Papagaio Disco Club, the female presence behind the turntables is a visible phenomenon in São Paulo night, in dances such as those of the Mulheril collective. , which brings together dozens of collaborators; Veraneio, by DJs Laylah Arruda, Laura Mercy and Raffa Jazz; Pitangueira, by DJs Dé Schw, Mariana Boaventura and Gabriela Ubaldo; Macumbia, also by Gabriela; and Viva o Vinil, by DJ Kylt from Paraíba, based in São Paulo.

Ju, however, considers that this evolution is still timid. “I think it's cool that there is a growing number of female DJs today, but this movement is still small compared to the male hegemony. Unfortunately, this is a reflection of the difficulties we live in a sexist and misogynist society. We are a minority, but I keep doing what I like, because I know that music has the power to bring people together. From the moment I discovered that I had the power to bring them together through sound, that passion has always moved me,” she says.

Prila reiterates the opinion of Chica's partner Chica Bum. “From public to domestic institutions, we live in a male state. I see little exchange between producers and DJs that include women from a creative perspective. Often, they are included in cultural networks to meet awareness protocols of those who say they are not sexist. At the same time, it's amazing how collectives of women have transformed things through insistence and resistance. But this traffic needs to flow more. I conclude by giving a shout out to DJ Sônia Abreu, pioneer of the dance universe, a dreamy woman, who jumped the wall of prejudice with her magic van and her record collection, taking her Tropical Waves to the public space in the 1980s.”

With these eight characters, we end here the two reports dedicated to the history of bailes black and their heritage for the night of São Paulo. It is worth remembering, as we stated in the first article, that hundreds of anonymous people also built this narrative. A hail to them all!

Read black is beautiful, first chapter of this report

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